Cupcakes & Badges

JENNIFER!!!

What?

Did you eat my cupcake?!

Oh my God, YESSS! Who leaves a frickin cupcake in the refrigerator for four days? I mean seriously!

I do!

Well that’s just wrong! Honestly, you should be thanking me.

What?! You bought that cupcake—for me!!

I bought it because I thought you’d eat it! Who doesn’t eat a cupcake for four days? What I did today was an act of charity! A mercy killing.

Russ shook his head.

Changing tack he said, Why did you move the air pump?

Because I filled up my exercise ball.

You mean MY exercise ball.

Well since I gave MY exercise ball away, so we didn’t have two lying around, it’s now OUR exercise ball!

Staring down his pointer finger like the barrel of a gun he barked, OURS. That’s better. You owe me another cupcake. Go get it right now!

I did not.

That was the day I quit class. It hadn’t even officially begun. There was a week of non-compulsory orientation to learn the platform and how things worked. After a couple of interactions, I requested a refund, which they granted without question. No one asked me why I dropped the class. If they had, I would have told them. I wrote a letter, because I found the brief experiences so staggering, but I haven’t sent it. I’m still deciding whether it’s worth it and what I hope to gain. I won’t reveal the name of the professional, or his business, but can affirm it was not a class of Scott Galloway’s, or Section4, the beacon of both professionalism and illumination. The letter follows below.

Dear X,

I’m wondering what your involvement is in this workshop. Is it a reflection of your brand? Is it a product constructed with your beliefs and values, or is it just your name slapped on the front like a sticker on a steamer trunk? Is there a difference? Aren’t you supposed to be your brand?

I loved your books. I continuously read your blog. This was my first interaction, in real-time, with your brand and the people who represent you.  I met with a workshop coach on Zoom for onboarding (I was the only participant), and joined a group onboarding the next day. At the start of the second zoom, the coach instructed us to close our eyes and breath deeply, with one hand on our tummy and the other hand across our chest. If Zoom could bend in a circle, we’d have been sitting cross-legged on our rubber mats, facing one another, and cooing “Om.”

 This isn’t how I imagined the workshop would begin. It landed like a cheap pitch for the coach’s own business. Taking for granted we need to recenter ourselves before beginning class is a rather condescending assumption for a representative of your workshop to disseminate, isn’t it? Rather reeking of the antithesis of yoga’s tenets? Unable to fast-forward past the exercise, my choices were to endure it or disconnect from it entirely.

I am sure this exercise was intended as a gift or an offering. There were many ‘thanks’ shared in the chat box on Zoom, so maybe I am alone in my assessment. But it doesn’t change the fact your business workshop kicked-off with a round of yogababble. This seems a deep departure from your brand. At the very least, it struck me as incredibly incongruous, leaving me to question the quality (authenticity) of your message.

In addition, the SaaS chosen for this workshop (Discord? Discourse?), resembles a slow-footed dinosaur. I’m curious why this instead of another one, such as Slack, which is much more nimble and intuitive (let alone aesthetically pleasing). Lastly, who are the Remarkables in class? Are they fan boys and girls who haven’t quite cut their teeth as your coaches yet? I honestly don’t know who they are, but this chosen moniker, this title, is more suggestive of a band of superheroes in a Marvel flick, than groupies in a three month-long workshop for upskilling. It’s hard to take any of it seriously between the yoggababble, the monikers, and the badges doled out on the platform, like dog biscuits tossed to the pack, every time we engaged with others on the platform. Fucking badges?? Seriously? I felt so ‘gamed’ by the whole experience, like a child with a shrewd babysitter.

I’m lost as to what your brand is and what you are trying to accomplish. Are we professionals learning new skills? Are we creatives learning new techniques? Or is this all just for fun? Learning is a lifelong endeavour. I have no doubt there are many illuminations tucked inside your workshop like silver coins hidden in the weepy corners of coat pockets. I’m just not certain the many pain points encountered doesn’t diminish this experience beyond recognition. My rant surely indicates a misalignment within my own chi, proof of deficit of both patience and compassion, and an omission of mental fluidity that more yoga would serve to alleviate. I strive to improve all of these things, just not here, not now, and not in this space. After all, inappropriate mixing isn’t limited to metaphors alone.

Namaste,

Jenn

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